Image: © Katharina Schwarck
Author: Katharina Schwarck
Trigger Warning: This text contains mentions of alcoholism and addiction
I walked into that supermarket by chance. It wasn’t in my neighbourhood, and I rarely went there. Suddenly, I had remembered that I had an empty fridge and since the closing time of the shops was near, I decided to take advantage of it. So, I went in, and while I was looking for something quick to prepare for dinner, a man I’d never seen before approached me. Strangely enough he knew my name and even more strangely, he knew my job. In fact, he asked me: “Hi, Geraldine. They always let you go so late at the editorial office, eh?”. It had already happened that a stranger had said that I had the face of a journalist and it was also possible that he had seen my work badge that I was still wearing when I entered the shop. Therefore, I decided not to pay attention to this man and kept heading towards the checkout. “And you always eat these dumplings when you don’t feel like cooking,” he said, following me. That was true, but it had to be a coincidence. I was taking the money out of the bag to pay when the stranger threw a bottle of wine on the conveyor belt. He smiled at me. “But be careful, Mr Bacchus!” the cashier shouted, evidently knowing the man. He apologized. “I always come here, you know, humans’ wine is simply tastier than ours,” he said without ceasing to smile at me. Now he was plainly bothering me. “And maybe he’s had a little too much already?” I asked him, raising my voice aggressively. He giggled. “That wouldn’t happen to you, would it? Don’t worry, you’ll never drink again in your life.” A few years ago, I had a big drinking problem, I was a real addict. I kept it secret and not even my best friends know about it. I managed to get out of it and there hasn’t been a single drop of alcohol in my blood since. “Who are you?” I said out loud, now clearly scared. The man stopped smiling and, to my surprise, started crying. “No one ever recognizes a small god like me!” I paid as fast as I could and left. Outside, I turned around and saw the man right behind me, the bottle in his hand. The cashier had really sold it to him. I was too scared to move. Now he was smiling again. “Are you going back to Giorgio’s now?” he asked me. “Ah no, that’s next year. Sorry, I always mix up the past and the future. Anyway, don’t worry about a thing. I’m always here to take care of you,” he added proudly. He reached his hand out as if to touch me. I closed my eyes, terrified. I felt nothing. I opened them again. He was gone and I was holding an empty bottle in my hand.